Rise of the Algorithms: New York Times Welcomes New Internet News Overlords

NYT Cheers the Rise of Censorship Algorithms

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

May 2, 2017

Just days after sporting First Amendment pins at the White House Correspondents Dinner – to celebrate freedom of the press – the mainstream U.S. media is back to celebrating a very different idea: how to use algorithms to purge the Internet of what is deemed “fake news,” i.e. what the mainstream judges to be “misinformation.”

The New York Times, one of the top promoters of this new Orwellian model for censorship, devoted two-thirds of a page in its Tuesday editions to a laudatory piece about high-tech entrepreneurs refining artificial intelligence that can hunt down and eradicate supposedly “fake news.”

New York Times building in New York City. 
(Photo from Wikipedia)

To justify this draconian strategy, the Times cited only a “fake news” report claiming that the French establishment’s preferred presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron had received funding from Saudi Arabia, a bogus story published by a Web site that mimicked the appearance of the newspaper Le Soir and was traced back to a Delaware phone number.

Yet, while such intentionally fabricated articles as well as baseless conspiracy theories are a bane of the Internet – and do deserve hearty condemnation – the Times gives no thought to the potential downside of having a select group of mainstream journalistic entities feeding their judgment about what is true and what is not into some algorithms that would then scrub the Internet of contrary items.

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jamie Swift, Ariel Martz-Oberlander, Janine Bandcroft May 3rd, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

May 3, 2017

Irregardless of the fireworks and red serge cavalry, the story of Canada's creation is a total yawner. The essence of this year's, and every July 1st, celebration is the marking of the day a foreign queen in a faraway capital signed into law the articles of our Confederation.

No "Into the breach, boys" heroics, or tales of gallantry done to share with grandchildren yet unborn; merely a mannered, polite ceremony, presumably with tea and cut sandwiches to follow; and Bob's your uncle.

For nearly all of our 150 years that's been good enough. Some of us even take a measure of pride our beginnings are a genteel, dare we say more civilized, affair than that of our flamboyant cousins south.

Listen. Hear.


But, in this new and bloodied century, where the prosecution of warmaking is more perpetual profession than momentous event, circumscribed by neither remorse nor temporality, the warrior ethos requires vigorous reaffirmation, and there our placid foundational trumpet is wanting steel.

Happily, as it happens, Canada's 2017 sesquicentennial coincides with the hundred year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Just the blood and guts grist needed to render from the horror and gore of trench warfare a narrative of glory and progress for an overly effete nation; or so our marshal myth-makers would have it. But are Canadians ready to accept militarism as national mantle?

Jamie Swift is an award-winning journalist, activist, educator, and author whose body of work is focused largely on issues of social justice, economy, environment, globalization, and politics. Among his other book titles, he co-authored, with Ian McKay, 'Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety' and teamed up again with McKay for the recently released, 'The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War'. The Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Public Service Journalism awardee is also the keynote speaker for the inaugural, 'Provincial Peace and Disarmament Summit', to be held here at the University of Victoria May 12-13.

Jamie Swift in the first half.

And; with less than a week before the provincial poll, which issues are you focused on? Though it's difficult to narrow down to just a few the missteps of the current government, there is a single exemplar of all that is wrong with the BCLiberals, regardless of your political bent. Whether fiscal conservative, Libertarian, enviro, anarcho-communist, social democrat, political agnostic, or miscellaneous the Site C Dam project has something to outrage you. And, the folks at Just the Dam Facts argue, there's a lot more than just one disastrous thing about this white elephant everyone can oppose.

Ariel Martz-Oberlander is with Just the Dam Facts, and she joins us in the second segment.

And, CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do planned in and around our town for the coming week. But first, Jamie Swift and The Vimy Trap, a ridge too far.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/


G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.


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Think War Think Tank: Canadian Global Affairs Institute's Militarist Agenda

Canadian Global Affairs Institute: A Think Tank Driving Militarist Foreign Policy

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

April 29th, 2017

A registered “charity” with buckets of donations from arms manufacturers and other corporate sources is aggressively trying to push Canadian foreign policy further towards militarism and the use of violence.

And the right wing Canadian Global Affairs Institute seems to be growing in influence, or at least media prominence.

Since last month’s federal budget senior CGAI analyst David Perry has been quoted throughout the media arguing for increased military spending.


I’m stunned this budget is actually taking money away from the military and pretending to give it back several decades in the future,” Perry told CBC.


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Who Can You Trust in a Post-Truth World?

The Existential Question of Whom to Trust

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

April 30, 2017

The looming threat of World War III, a potential extermination event for the human species, is made more likely because the world’s public can’t count on supposedly objective experts to ascertain and evaluate facts. Instead, careerism is the order of the day among journalists, intelligence analysts and international monitors – meaning that almost no one who might normally be relied on to tell the truth can be trusted.

 Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations 
on Feb. 5. 2003, citing satellite photos which supposedly proved 
that Iraq had WMD, but the evidence proved bogus. CIA 
Director George Tenet is behind Powell to the left.

The dangerous reality is that this careerism, which often is expressed by a smug certainty about whatever the prevailing groupthink is, pervades not just the political world, where lies seem to be the common currency, but also the worlds of journalism, intelligence and international oversight, including United Nations agencies that are often granted greater credibility because they are perceived as less beholden to specific governments but in reality have become deeply corrupted, too.

In other words, many professionals who are counted on for digging out the facts and speaking truth to power have sold themselves to those same powerful interests in order to keep high-paying jobs and to not get tossed out onto the street. Many of these self-aggrandizing professionals – caught up in the many accouterments of success – don’t even seem to recognize how far they’ve drifted from principled professionalism.

A good example was Saturday night’s spectacle of national journalists preening in their tuxedos and gowns at the White House Correspondents Dinner, sporting First Amendment pins as if they were some brave victims of persecution. They seemed oblivious to how removed they are from Middle America and how unlikely any of them would risk their careers by challenging one of the Establishment’s favored groupthinks. Instead, these national journalists take easy shots at President Trump’s buffoonish behavior and his serial falsehoods — and count themselves as endangered heroes for the effort.


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Conflict Medicine

Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

April 28, 2017 

Dr. Gus Abu-Sitta is the head of the Plastic Surgery Department at the AUB Medical Center in Lebanon. He specializes in reconstructive surgery.

What it means in this part of the world is clear: they bring you people from the war zones, torn to pieces, missing faces, burned beyond recognition, and you have to try to give them their life back.

Dr. Abu-Sitta is also a thinker. A Palestinian born in Kuwait, he studied and lived in the UK, and worked in various war zones of the Middle East, as well as in Asia, before accepting his present position at the AUB Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon.

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Monbiot Proves Propagandist (again) on Syria "Chemical Attack"

A disavowal of George Monbiot’s witch-hunt 

by Jonathan Cook

28 April 2017  

George Monbiot is again on one of his intermittent witch-hunts against “the left” – on this occasion, against anyone questioning whether the Syrian regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Idlib earlier this month.

In a post on his website, called simply “Disavowal”, he dismisses those who have raised doubts about the official western narrative – such as MIT weapons expert Ted Postol; former UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter; and former US military and government insider Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state – as a “few contrarians”.

I remember a time when Monbiot was a contrarian himself, on the environment and climate change.

Then, he would have proudly embraced such a denunciation as proof of his independence and critical thinking. Now it is a weapon to use against his critics.



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Starving Prisoners of Palestine

Prisoners Show the Way

by Mazin Qumsiyeh - qumsiyeh.org

April 27, 2017

Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers.

Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. 

[Volunteers came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall and impact of settlements on the environment because this is not work but resistance].

Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In this message I just want to reflect on why this is very important.

Every day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and unhealthy desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because they have some material interest?


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The Professor and the Propagandists: Theodore Postol and the Syria "Gas Attack"

'An Impeachable Offence' - Professor Postol and Syria

by David Edwards - Medialens

April 26, 2107

It is hard to believe that just three weeks ago the entire corporate media was in uproar over Syria; specifically, about the need to 'do something' in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, on April 4.

Guardian commentator George Monbiot summed up the corporate media zeitgeist:

'Do those who still insist Syrian govt didn't drop chemical weapons have any idea how much evidence they are denying?'
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Whitney Webb, Patrick Henningsen, Dan Kovalik, Christina Nikolic April 26th, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

April 26, 2017


Eleven days have passed, and memory of the horror bombing of the al-Fu’ah and Kafaryah refugees has largely disappeared here, subsumed and roiled beneath the ceaseless, churning news-cycle.

But then, the real story of the fate of those mainly women and children killed while waiting, Checkpoint Charlie-style, for exchange from one side of the Syrian battle front to the other was never fully told; at least not by the big Media guns on our side of that protracted war.Whitney Webb is a South America-based journalist writing about environmental, political, and economic issues in English and Spanish.

Her articles have featured at ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, 21st Century Wire, and True Activist among other places.


Listen. Hear.


Her recent work for MintPressNews.com includes the article, 'Al Jazeera, CNN & BBC Cover Up Genocidal Crimes of US – Backed Syrian Rebels'. It's the story behind the recent murder of more than 125 al-Fu’ah and Kafaryah refugees.

Whitney Webb in the first segment.

And; Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire is on the ground in Syria. He arrived with Vanessa Beeley just as the al-Fu’ah and Kafrayah refugees were being bombed. Their reports from the scene were subsequently broadcast around the World on 21Wire and the RT network.

Patrick Henningsen, dispatches from Syria's fluid front in the second segment.

And; Syria is not the only place where faked, phonied, and otherwise distorted news is promulgated. Demonizing Russia is nothing new in the Western press, but since the implosion of America's Democrats last November, the pitch of anti-Putin vitriol has exceeded shrill, becoming a dog-whistle for disappointed Clintonites and the neo-Liberal claque surrounding her doomed presidential ambition. But, is there more than politics behind the rhetoric?

Daniel Kovalik is a human rights lawyer, essayist, and author who's book, 'The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin' is fresh off the Skyhorse Publishing press.

Dan teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is Senior Associate General Counsel for the United Steel Workers union. He's made numerous trips to Colombia, serving as a witness to last year's peace plebiscite there. Dan's a long-time peace and justice activist, focused especially on Colombia and Central America, where he too serves as an attorney for Colombian plaintiffs in cases alleging corporate human rights violations, and co-recipient of a Project Censored Award for chronicling the murder of trade unionists in Colombia.

Dan Kovalik and impaling Vlad in the final segment.

And; horticultural guru and intrepid green entrepreneur, Christina Nikolic will join us at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events update, bringing us up to speed with some of the good things planned in and around our town for the coming week. But first, Whitney Webb and whitewashing war crimes in Syria.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Freeway to the Guillotine: A Tale of Two Americas

America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux

by Robert Hunziker - CounterPunch

April 24, 2017

Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, required reading in secondary school, is the second biggest selling single-volume book of all-time at 200 million copies. 21st Century America is that story.

A Tale of Two Cities is historical fiction. Dickens’ richly developed plot of complex relationships amongst Charles Darnay, Lucie Manette, and Sydney Carton, of redemption, rebirth, love, and violence layered over a background of Revolution embodying those same issues, as French peasants fight for freedom from the lingering shackles of feudalism.

Today, America's tale of two cities is depicted in pre-revolutionary France, especially metaphorically, as when Marquis Evrémonde kills a plebian child with his golden carriage.

The Marquis, displaying the typical attitude of aristocracy, shows no signs of regret but instead curses the peasantry and hurries home to his chateau.

That one cogent Dickensian scene says it all vis a vis America today, which is two separate economic and political worlds as exquisitely explained by Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT in his new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy.


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After the Devastation: Year One in Aleppo

ALEPPO: After Devastation, The Rehabilitation (Part One)

by  Patrick Henningsen - 21st Century Wire

April 23, 2017

ALEPPOFor the last five years, everyone has been talking about Aleppo.

I can’t even count how many interviews we’ve conducted, or how many TV news segments I’ve watched and articles read – about the battles and sieges in this crucial theatre which has come to symbolise the long war on Syria.

With all of this in mind, nothing can really prepare you for the sheer scale of the devastation visible throughout Syria’s second largest city.

(Photo: Patrick Henningsen@21WIRE)

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Changelessness of the Guard: New Wars, Same General Plan

The Honeymoon of the Generals: Or Why Trump’s Wars Should Seem So Familiar
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch 

April 23, 2017 

MOAB sounds more like an incestuous, war-torn biblical kingdom than the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, aka “the mother of all bombs.” Still, give Donald Trump credit. Only the really, really big bombs, whether North Korean nukes or those 21,600 pounds of MOAB, truly get his attention.

He wasn’t even involved in the decision to drop the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal for the first time in war, but his beloved generals -- “we have the best military people on Earth” -- already know the man they work for, and the bigger, flashier, more explosive, and winninger, the better.

It was undoubtedly the awesome look of that first MOAB going off in grainy black and white on Fox News, rather than in Afghanistan, that appealed to the president. Just as he was visibly thrilled by all those picturesque Tomahawk cruise missiles, the equivalent of nearly three MOABS, whooshing from the decks of U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and heading, like so many fabulous fireworks, toward a Syrian airfield -- or was it actually an Iraqi one?

“We've just fired 59 missiles,” he said, “all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing... It's so incredible. It's brilliant. It's genius. Our technology, our equipment, is better than anybody by a factor of five.” 
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